New Zealand reports more COVID-19 cases ahead of lockdown decision

Cheryl Sanders
August 14, 2020

Ashley says a 13th case, which is now in Auckland Hospital, has no known link and an investigation is underway to find out where this person contracted the virus.

New Zealand is believed to have at least 49 active cases of coronavirus.

She hopes by this time the perimeter of the cluster will be identified and isolated.

The discovery of four new cases earlier this week had ended New Zealand's 102-day run with no new transmissions.

There are four "alert levels" in New Zealand, and Auckland has been on Level 3 since Wednesday.

"We don't necessarily need to answer that question in order to contain and deal with this cluster effectively", she said.

Arden and Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield revealed the lockdown decision from the Beehive this evening.

He said all confirmed cases will be managed in a quarantine facility. In less than 24 hours Auckland was in level 3 lockdown and the rest of the country had moved to level 2.

"The latest Covid-19 outbreak is obviously disappointing, especially for businesses that have just got up and running again", Robertson said. If you're in Auckland, stay at home in your bubble.

However, a new level 4 lockdown would have "more severe" economic implications although "international experience shows that losing control of the virus would be much more damaging to the economy" than further lockdowns.

"We will use what tools we have to protect jobs, incomes and businesses as well as people's health".

"There are signs we have found this outbreak relatively early in its life", she said.

But she said that, although the first case was confirmed in Auckland on Tuesday, contact-tracing had "determined that the earliest case...was at a store in Wellington that became sick on approximately 31 July".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she's expecting the situation to worsen before it improves.

New Zealanders celebrated when Ardern appeared to eliminate community transmission of the coronavirus with the earlier hard lockdown that forced nearly everyone to stay at home.

There are 12 cases linked to the existing cluster.

"We've had reports of healthcare workers, who are doing their best to provide testing for people, being verbally abused and even attacked", he said.

The additional case is a returned traveller who is in a quarantine facility.

The new confirmed cases bring New Zealand's total number of cases to 1251.

Two of the confirmed cases are in Tokoroa and are connected to a family member of the South Auckland family which first tested positive this week.

Bloomfield dismissed suggestions by health experts it was likely the virus had been quietly spreading in Auckland for weeks, saying there was "very good evidence" that was not the case.

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